California restricts access to water well records

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A decade's old California law prevents the general public from viewing records of water wells at a time when critics say the information could help scientists and water policy specialists better protect the state's groundwater supply.

The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday that other Western states make such reports available, but a law passed six decades ago restricting who can see them is raising questions amid California's droughts.

Laurel Firestone of the Community Water Center in Visalia says the law creates a lack of transparency, blindfolding those interested in improving water quality. The law was written to keep data on wells collected by drilling companies secret from competitors.

The California Farm Bureau's Paul Wenger says there's no benefit to making them public when those who need to know have access.


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